JUNE 22, 2019
India 224 for 8 (Kohli 67, Jadhav 52, Nabi 2-33) beat Afghanistan 213 (Nabi 52, Shami 4-40) by 11 runs
Indian bowler Mohammed Shami celebrates his hat-trick against Afghanistan – Getty Images
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi sent India on a tailspin and threatened a Sri Lanka-style comeback as a second successive upset loomed large in the World Cup. Afghanistan’s spinners, including part-timer Rahmat Shah, claimed combined figures of 34-0-119-5, but Rahmat and Hashmatullah Shahidi were resolutely playing out India’s wristspinners in a chase of 225. But then, Jasprit Bumrah returned and bounced out both batsmen on a slower-than-usual Hampshire Bowl track to crack the game open.
Afghanistan were 106 for 4 by this point and the asking rate shot past six. Nabi followed his boundary-less spell of 9-0-33-2 with a fearless assault – 52 off 55 balls – but Bumrah and Mohammed Shami ensured India avoided a potential banana peel and remained unbeaten in the tournament. It was Shami who secured the victory for India with a hat-trick, which began with the prized scalp of Nabi and ended with a whirring yorker that demolished the stumps of No.11 Mujeeb.
The game was still dangling on a razor’s edge, when Nabi smeared a hard-to-hit low full-toss off Shami for four straight off long-on to leave Afghanistan needing 12 off the last five balls with three wickets in hand. Nabi slugged the next ball away to deep midwicket and refused the single to wicketkeeper Ikram AliKhil, who in stark contrast, struggled to get the ball away and ended on an unbeaten 7 off 10 balls.
Nabi then hit an attempted yorker straight to long-on and two deadly yorkers breached through the defences of Aftab Alam and Mujeeb. Shami wouldn’t have played this game had Bhuvneshwar Kumar been fit. His inclusion had made India’s tail longer than usual, but he delivered at the crunch to become only the second Indian – after Chetan Sharma – and 10th player to bag a World Cup hat-trick.
Hardik Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal played their parts as well, putting the chase away from the reach of Afghanistan, despite late cameos from Najibullah Zadran (21) and Rashid Khan (14). Pandya was swatted away for back-to-back fours by Gulbadin Naib in his second over, but he responded brilliant in his next over by hitting a harder length and having the Afghanistan captain top-edge a hook to deep midwicket.
Pandya exploited the two-paced pitch with offcutters that often kicked up at the batsman; one such variation had Najibullah spoon a catch to midwicket in the 42nd over. Chahal, who had bowled Asghar Afghan earlier, then struck in the 46th over to have Rashid stumped. At this point, Afghanistan required 35 off 26 balls, but Bumrah and Shami denied them.